Rising flood waters are scary, but did you know implementing some simple preventative maintenance for your property’s stormwater system could help reduce the risk? Blocked drains and gutters are among the leading culprits that disrupt proper drainage when heavy rains hit.
However, taking a few minutes here and there to clear debris can make a big difference in keeping water flowing freely. In this blog post, we’ll explore various ways to inspect and care for roof runoff and ground drainage to minimise potential stormwater issues. From seasonal gutter cleanings to regular drain checks, learn practical tips that may offer future peace of mind by helping to eliminate flooding around your home.
How to Prevent Stormwater Blockages and Flooding
Inspect your Gutters and Downpipes
Be sure to inspect your roof’s gutters and downpipes before each rainy season. Look for any damage, blockages or areas that may not drain properly.
Remove any debris like leaves and branches clogging the system. Also, flush out freshly fallen leaves after storms. Check that downpipes direct water at least three feet away from foundations.
Cleaning takes little time but can help prevent flooding issues. Maintaining gutters through periodic inspections is a smart practice.
Clear Surface Debris and Litter
In addition to gutters, remove any debris or litter from exterior surfaces like roofs and driveways before rain. Sweep up fallen leaves, twigs and litter to prevent them from entering gutters or storm drains.
Check around drains and culverts for accumulated waste and clear it out. Taking 10 minutes for a perimeter sweep removes potential blocked stormwater drains. Less material entering drains means less risk of clogs forming to disrupt the flow. Keeping surfaces clear in this way offers protection.
Keep Drain Grates Unobstructed
Stormwater drain grates need to remain clear to allow maximum intake during heavy rainfall. Check around grates for weed growth, leaves or trash buildup that could cover openings.
Use a rake or broom to remove obstructions, ensuring water can freely enter the drain below. Where grates tend to get buried easily, consider trimming back nearby landscaping. Unblocking the grate is an effort that pays off in better drainage when storms hit.
Maintain Natural Flow Paths
It’s important to allow natural stormwater flow paths to remain open on your property. Trim back any overgrown trees or plants blocking low-lying areas where water drains. Ensure grades and slopes direct rainfall runoff adequately towards street gutters or culverts.
Only obstruct or alter flow patterns after consulting local flood planning requirements first. A well-maintained stormwater drainage layout helps rainfall exit smoothly instead of pooling in unwanted areas.
Deep Clean your Drains
For major drainage systems, periodically do a deeper clean. Annually inspect pits and culverts, raking out built-up sediment, leaves and debris not flushed through by rain alone.
Consider using non-chemical drain cleaners or a plumber’s snake to clear the clog within the blocked stormwater drain pipes. Professional rodding or jetting services can access lines more fully. Regular deep cleans reduce long-term clogging risks. Catching buildup before it complicates matters means smaller drainage jobs.
Create an Ongoing Maintenance Plan
Develop an annual stormwater maintenance calendar to keep on top of inspections and cleaning. Schedule biannual checks of gutters, grates and perimeters. Note seasonal leaves schedules and risks from storms.
Plan major drain cleans before peak wet periods. Involve the whole family to share lighter duties and stay accountable. Keep a register of any repairs needed.
Consider planting appropriate groundcovers to reduce waste. With some forethought, you can better prepare your property and stay one step ahead of blockage issues all year round.
Flood Proof for Severe Weather
For extreme rainfall events like hurricanes or prolonged downpours, take extra precautions. Sandbag low entry points preemptively if flooding is predicted.
Move valuables upstairs or to high ground as a precaution. Check that sump pumps are operational and backup power is available. Consider flood barriers, removable grates or raised utility upgrades for very high-risk areas on your property.
While maintenance reduces everyday risks, severe storms may require temporary safeguards. Being prepared can minimise damage if floodwaters exceed your drainage capacity.
When to Get Professional Help
Developing an ongoing maintenance plan can help you stay on top of stormwater drainage system upkeep throughout the year. Schedule biannual inspections of gutters, downpipes, drain stormwater grates, and the perimeter of your property to remove debris and clear obstructions before each wet season.
Note when leaves are likely to fall so you can monitor gutters, gutter guards, and drains more closely. Plan to deep clean major drains and drainage structures like culverts annually before peak rainfall periods.
Encourage family members to share lighter cleaning duties and keep everyone accountable. Maintain a log of any repairs needed. For severe storms, temporary flood barriers or sandbags preemptively placed at low spots can offer added protection when drainage systems face overflow risks.
Know when it’s time to call in professional drain cleaning help - signs include persistent backups, standing water that won’t drain, emerging silt or debris in sewer pipes, tree root intrusions, or recurring drainage issues that won’t clear with self-maintenance. With an organised maintenance plan tailored to your property, you can better manage stormwater drainage systems challenges year-round.
How often should gutters be cleaned?
Aim to inspect gutters and downpipes at least twice a year or more frequently if tree roots are heavily shed.
Is leaf litter really a flooding risk?
Yes, even a thin layer of leaves can block grates and drains, reducing stormwater intake and overflow capacity.
Should I clean out street drains, too?
No, leave street drains to your local council. Focus on maintaining your own roof and property drainage systems.
What’s the best way to clear a major blockage?
Try a plumber’s snake first before considering jetting or rodding by a professional drain cleaner.
How deep should drainage pits be cleaned?
Clean out any accessible silt or debris from the top 1-2 metres. Deeper cleaning may require special equipment.
What natural materials are safe for landscaping near drains?
Gravel, mulch, selected grass and low groundcovers won’t interfere with flow like high plants might.
Should I worry about indoor drain clogs, too?
Yes, maintain bathroom, kitchen and laundry drains by regularly removing hair and other buildup.
Making Prevention a Priority
Implementing regular storm water drain maintenance is a straightforward way to help prevent blockages and flooding around your property. Small efforts spread throughout the year can go a long way in keeping water flowing smoothly.
As we’ve explored, this involves periodically checking gutters, clearing blocked drains and other debris, inspecting drains, and developing an ongoing maintenance routine. Taking a proactive approach to your drainage systems pays dividends in helping protect your home and valuables from stormwater back-ups or overflows.
If you need any professional drain cleaning or flood remediation services, don’t hesitate to contact Fixed Today. As your trusted local experts, we can assess your drainage systems, perform repairs or deep cleaning, and provide recommendations tailored to your property’s unique needs.
Staying on top of preventative maintenance is important, but don’t battle blockages alone - we’re here to help keep your stormwater drains flowing freely all year round. Give us a call today to discuss how we can assist in getting your drains and drainage paths back to their optimal functioning.